Finding the right shoes for palmoplantar psoriasis

| Emily Delzell

When psoriasis affects the feet, it often has an outsized impact on people’s quality of life. About 5 percent of people with psoriasis have palmoplantar psoriasis (PPP), plaque psoriasis on the feet (or hands) that can cause heavy scaling and cracking.

“Depending on its location, even a single lesion on the foot can affect people’s ability to do their day-to-day activities, causing significant discomfort and problems walking,” said Alan Menter, M.D., chair of the Department of Dermatology at Baylor University Medical Center in Dallas, Texas. 

A 2014 study published in the Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology, for example, found that people with PPP scored lower on several quality of life measures than individuals with plaque psoriasis with higher total BSA scores whose feet weren’t affected.

Those with PPP were almost twice as likely to report mobility problems and almost two-and-a-half times more likely to have trouble doing their usual activities.

(Check out on our webinar for treating psoriasis of the hands and feet.)

Like all forms of psoriasis, appropriate medications are key to controlling PPP. But wearing the right footgear can also cut down on complications and up your comfort level and ability to take part in life. 

If the shoe fits

Shoe selection is important, but socks come first, said Alex Kor, D.P.M., a podiatrist at Johns Hopkins Medical Center in Baltimore, Maryland. 

“Cracking can be made worse by choosing the wrong socks—those that cause feet to sweat a lot, for example—and by not changing them enough,” he said. 

Kor suggests 100 percent Merino wool socks or those made from blended materials to help wick away moisture. 

“If your feet sweat a lot—which worsens dryness and cracking—it’s especially important to change socks after athletic activity and at mid-day, particularly if your job requires a lot of standing,” he said.

Shoes should have a roomy toe box to keep pressure off affected skin and nails, according to Kor. 

“This means having enough depth from top to bottom, not just side to side,” he said, adding that heels should be no higher than 1.5 inches. 

Kor also prefers a shoe with a rigid shank (the part of the shoe between the ball of the foot and the heel). 

“A shoe should bend some at the ball of the foot, but not in the middle, where you need stiffness for stability,” he says. 

In other words, if the shoe twists easily from end to end, pass!

Avoid flats, which provide little support, said Menter. “Cushioning reduces pressure,” he explained. “Insoles can also add to cushioning and comfort.” 

A podiatrist or other foot specialist can prescribe insoles or modify shoes to target your individual foot issues. 

 


Driving discovery, creating community

For more than 50 years, we’ve been driving efforts to cure psoriatic disease and improve the lives of those affected. But there’s still plenty to do! Learn how you can help our advocacy team shape the laws and policies that affect people with psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis – in your state and across the country. Help us raise funds to support research by joining Team NPF, where you can walk, run, cycle, play bingo or create your own fundraising event. If you or someone you love needs free, personalized support for living a healthier life with psoriatic disease, contact our Patient Navigation Center. And keep the National Psoriasis Foundation going strong by making a donation today. Together, we will find a cure.

Recent Blog Posts

left hand dabbing lotion on right hand
Not all moisturizers are created equal when it comes to soothing your psoriasis...
A veteran volunteer recalls her rookie experience with patient advocacy and...
medicine to fight the flu
Doctors urge patients with suppressed immune systems to get yearly influenza...
infographic PNC international stats
In honor of World Psoriasis Day, we share stories from our international...
Selfie of Pattie Barry in her garden
Pattie Barry became a nurse so she could help others. When nursing became...
We invite you to be there when we gather the experts in one room to talk about...
Stephen Gerring holding 3-month-old daughter Georgia.
A veteran of Team NPF Run offers ideas to carry you all the way to the finish...
collage of medical symbols
As states battle to shore up their health insurance exchanges, some are taking...
Massachusetts state capitol
Help educate your lawmakers on psoriatic disease and raise awareness at the...